Last stage heartbreak for dominant duo Londoners Mike Harris Junior and Ben Garrod experienced one of the most gut wrenching ends to a rally ever when they crashed into a stranded competitors car on the final stage of the recent Isle of Man...
Last stage heartbreak for dominant duo
Londoners Mike Harris Junior and Ben Garrod experienced one of the most gut wrenching ends to a rally ever when they crashed into a stranded competitors car on the final stage of the recent Isle of Man 'stars' Rally whilst leading!
The pair, who had won the opening round back in May, had experienced first stage mechanical failures on both of the last two rallies and were just hoping for a clean run on both of this weekends rallies. They opened their account with a blistering time through the 7 mile Little London Stage, a mere 5 seconds slower than the Super 1600 Citroen C2 of Darren Gass and quicker than all of the Citroen C2R2s that were contesting the main rally!
Top times on the next few stages meant that the pair still held the lead as they entered the final stage of the rally. Unbeknown to them, Mark Gamble, also in a C2, was stranded ahead of them on the stage with gearbox failure. When Mike came around the corner and found the road blocked there was nothing he could do and crashed into the stricken car. Initially they thought that damage was purely cosmetic, but once the stage had been halted and Gambles car moved Harris discovered that the driveshaft on his C2 had snapped in the impact, stranding the pair. Although they would be given a notional time for the stage, if the pair could not make it to the ceremonial ramp back in Douglas they would not be classified as finishers! There was nothing the distraught pair could do and they were left to watch their richly deserved victory slide away.
We can't believe what has happened. We weren't really pushing that hard on the opening stage so our times were all the more pleasing! When we came around the corner in the last stage and saw Gamble parked there in the road I went cold. It was like a bad dream! This double no score has ruined our title chances now!
With the damage to the car too severe to be repaired on the island both Mike and Ben were left to spectate on the Saturday and contemplate what could have been. As it is now mathematically impossible for them to win the championship Mike and Ben are currently considering their options for the remainder of the season in order to maximise their hopes of attracting sponsorship in 2008.
-credit: geoff mayes